I disclaim Card Captor
Sakura. I disclaim part of plot that belongs to PREP.
A short idea that may be continued. Something that was on my mind for a long time.
Summary. Sakura wanted to get through private school without getting noticed. Its too bad Syaoran comes along one day and ruins that ideal.
Does she fall in love? If only it could be that simple.
Syaoran Li was the most beautiful man in Tomoeda High. Beautiful was a word to usually describe an elegant dancer or an exotic painting perhaps. But it was just the word to portray Syaoran Li. He was smart, witty, funny, athletic, and by all means the most handsome boy ever created to walk the hallways of this private boarding school. He was the freshman who had the hearts of all the females on board and the friendship of every guy he cared to talk to. Everyone desperately wanted his attention, not that everyone publicly showed it. But it was a sure thing that at some point in a student's Tomoeda High experience they have written "Missus 'insert first name' Li" in their private diaries. And perhaps even some "Mister 'insert male name' Li" as well.
Of course a guy of his status was sure to wind up with a classy girlfriend the moment he set foot at this prestigious school. And it was a fact that he had recently started dating a senior girl by the name of Keriko Makao a month in to first semester. A piece of information that was always the center of every gossip circle and whatever one could cram in to the school newspaper under the teacher's noses.
So it was no wonder that Sakura's roommate should have a heart wrenching crush on him, girlfriend or not included. This was why Sakura knew so much of this boy even though she's never met him personally. It was because her roommate would not ever stop talking about him. It was always "Oh, Syaoran looked so cute today with that white polo shirt today, too bad he got in trouble for…" or "Wasn't he hot playing soccer today? Can you believe that he's in varsity and he's only a freshman?" and even "I heard he was wearing red boxers today, some girl told me about it during…" But most of the time it was about how absolutely horrid it was for him to go out with that "snobby stuck up senior…she hardly knows him…what does he see in her anyways?"
Sakura already knew he was in varsity. She already knew about how stuck up Keriko was. And she wondered why her roommate even bothered talking to her about it for the hundredth time anyways. She hardly paid attention to what she was saying. It's not like she was part of her roommate's social circle. If only she could just tell her roommate that she wasn't interested in what Syaoran was wearing that certain day or the details on how absolutely bitchy Keriko could be. All she wanted was to study for the bio test tomorrow, and she wanted to do it alone.
"…Kinoomotoo? Are you listening or not?"
Speak of the devil. Sakura poked her nose an inch out of her enormous text book, "Yes Meiling? You were saying how cute he looked wearing um…an orange track jacket?"
"No, yuck! Orange?" She sniffed at her reflection and patted down her long black hair with one hand, "Anyways…I wasn't talking about Syaoran, I'm going to Central today to get my nails done by a professional. What are you going to do today?"
Sakura was about to feign shock from her almost sincere question of curiosity when Meiling opened her mouth again, "What am I saying, you're probably going on a date with your bio book today, am I right?"
Sakura felt herself once again backed up in corner by her roommate's lack of understanding. Meiling knew she didn't have many friends, and she'd mention it to her every time she had the chance. It was mostly because Sakura was in Tomoeda with a scholarship alone. Her family would never be able to afford such a luxurious school like the rest of the students. For instance today was a Sunday which meant no school. Most everyone had left for Central, the city nearby to go shopping or partying. Only a few people stuck around Tomoeda on Sundays. Half of them were finding places to make out anyways. That left about one percent of the entire student population in their dorms studying for a bio test.
Sakura bit down on her tongue, "No, I'm going out." She didn't quite understand why she was lying; maybe she was finally crumbling under the pressure of constant insults.
Meiling turned around and stared at her, "Really? Wow, I can't believe Kinomoto is actually human, are you going to Central?"
"No…I'm going to the…the café downtown…" She said easily, her book now placed shut on her lap.
Her roommate turned again to face the mirror, "Oh…well, have fun sweetheart, I'll see you before curfew." Meiling gave her a wink and left the room. Sakura knew what the wink meant. It meant she had to stay up after eleven to unlock the window for the girl to sneak back in. Meiling never came back before curfew.
The café was a small run down store at the corner of an even more rundown street. Sakura had to take the bus there. It was five in the afternoon when she arrived so the air was quite cool. She realized that she might as well wander downtown to make up for her lie; it did make her feel slightly better. Her bio book was tucked in her bag. The bell jingled when she pushed the door open. The bartender didn't even look up as she found an empty seat among old business men to sit down. The room smelled of old leather and fresh cocoa beans. For some reason the mixture of the two made her want to throw up.
She daintily placed her bio book on the table and almost immediately made herself invisible. She had become rather good at it since she had entered Tomoeda High. Knowing that most of the kids there weren't on scholarship like she was and that they all had rich parents and wealth beyond her imagination it became obvious she wouldn't fit in very well. So she made herself invisible. She was nothing but the background. And it worked. Nobody came to talk to her, so she didn't talk to anyone else. Except for Meiling, who would never talk to her in public. Only in the privacy of their dorms would they share a simple and usually insulting conversation. But because of her ability to become unnoticeable she knew everyone at the small private school fairly well through things she'd overhear. For instance she knew that the small mousy haired girl in her bio class named Rika had divorced parents and a pet hamster she kept secretly in her closet. She knew a girl named Daidouji had a single parent who was the president of a very famous fashion company. She knew a boy named Hiirigizawa who didn't have any parents but owned an enormous mansion where he used to live by himself. She also knew he was the class president and quite popular thought not as popular as Syaoran Li. A noise startled Sakura from her seat. It was the door, and it was a shock to see none other than Syaoran Li stroll in.
Sakura watched the boy walk to the counter and there was this sense of nervousness that crept inside her gut that someone else from Tomoeda had just entered her private space. And not just someone else, this was Syaoran Li. But what was wrenching around inside her was how it seemed positively delightful that Meiling wasn't here to see that he was wandering around alone.
He must've noticed someone was watching because he froze and looked about as if he was searching for something. Sakura quickly stared at her book, seemingly engrossed in the anatomy of fruit fly. It hadn't at first seemed possible that such a perfect man could possibly exist, but she had just seen him and she would've believed it. He was very tall, too tall to be like the other freshmen. Brown messy hair that gave an impression he didn't need to have nice hair to impress girls. He was wearing a simple dark blue shirt and jeans as if he was just taking an easy stroll. But it seemed so unreal that Sakura was in the presence of such an idolized figure. She had always imagined him in collared white shirts and khaki pants with combed hair. Sakura felt for the first time in her life if she had dressed appropriately enough and self consciously felt too plain for him even if he was all the way across the room.
He hadn't seen her but she had felt his eyes graze the back of her neck once. Maybe she was imagining things, maybe he wasn't really there. She was too scared to look back and check. Her fingers trembled and her throat gagged. There was just something wrong with her. It was as if she could scarcely breathe, the air was suffocating. Maybe it was the smell of leather and cheap coffee. She reached in to her bag for a tissue but realized she had left them in her dorm. Sakura wanted to leave the room and get some fresh air but didn't want to give Syaoran a chance to catch notice of her. Maybe he'd talk to her, maybe he'd ignore her. The possibilities were terrifying so she sat stuck to her chair and held a shaking book in her hands. Then the waiter approached the table. He was a fat man with a greasy beard. It was revolting to see there were crumbs stuck in the wiry tangle of hair. And when he spoke Sakura could smell stale pizza. She realized she was hot and had broken a sweat doing nothing. Her face was flushed. She was panting for clean air. The man was speaking but she couldn't hear him. The world flipped upside down and then she was numb.
"Hey, I think she's awake now," A voice echoed in her air, "Yeah, cold water, cold, not hot, thanks."
She felt something soft brush by her forehead and her vision cleared. Syaoran was hovering above her with a glass of water. He looked completely calm, not one bit of concern on his face. Sakura rushed to sit up from the dirty café floor but he pushed her back down with one hand.
"You need to lie down for a couple minutes okay? You just fainted." He said casually as if it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Sakura felt horrible. She had just passed out in front of Syaoran Li and he had seen it all. What did he think of her now?
"Did you eat breakfast today?"
Sakura realized he was asking her a question but couldn't find the words to answer. Yes, I had a bagel and a cup of milk. Nothing escaped her dry lips.
"Hey! Do you have anything to eat here?" He asked what must've been the store manager.
"Of course! This is a damn coffee shop, what do you want?"
"Anything, something small, a piece of bread…something like that."
Sakura lifted a hand to protest, "No, it's okay really, I had breakfast."
"How many fingers am I holding up?" He said suddenly.
Sakura squinted at them for about two seconds because she was still adjusting to her sight and answered, "Three."
"Very good, I've always wanted to do that, actually."
If Sakura hadn't been feeling quite well, she would've attempted a light chuckle.
"Are you sick?" He asked, and put a palm over her forehead. His hand was nice and warm, "Nope, no fever, how are you feeling? I still think you should eat something."
Sakura made another attempt to get up and he didn't stop her, "I'm okay…really I am…sorry for troubling you…"
"No worries, but you should really stay inside in someplace cool maybe, this place broke its air conditioning a while ago don't you know?"
She wanted to say she did know, and that she was perfectly fine, but instead she just stared at him as if he was from a foreign planet.
Syaoran shrugged, "Anyways, if you say you're okay, I'm Li Syaoran, by the way."
I know, Sakura thought. I know exactly who you are. But she didn't want to seem as if she had been stalking him. It's Meiling whose been stalking you. She protested to herself.
"Nice to meet you…" Sakura hesitated; he must not know that I go to Tomoeda, "I'm Kinomoto Sakura."
But he was already focusing his attention elsewhere. Sakura felt as if she was boring him. As if having her pass out was probably the most exciting thing she had even done. And now since she was fine, he would discard her away as part of the scenery again. Sakura felt slightly disappointed.
"Okay Kinomoto, I know a place not far from here, and its outside so I don't think you'll go and pass out on me again, how about we head there?"
Sakura was staring at him again as if he had uttered incomprehensible words.
"It's okay r-really…I'm fine…you don't have to – "
"You don't want to come?"
Sakura flushed, "I…don't want to bother you…"
He let out a small laugh. It was a very simple carefree laugh and it sounded so kind to Sakura's ears. No boy had ever laughed like Syaoran did, at least not to her.
"Don't be a fool," It wasn't an insult, she knew it, but even so, she felt as if the words they were exchanging was something like old friends would do. And that's when she would've given the world for someone to walk by the café window at the corner of a rundown street to see her talking with Syaoran Li. What would they say? "Did you hear? Syaoran was talking to some nobody…like actually talking to her!" Her life would probably never be the same. She'd never be able to become invisible anymore. She'd be labeled the freshman girl who had conversed with Syaoran Li one Sunday while he was alone when he was supposed to be going out with Keriko Makao.
"You coming or not?" He said suddenly, snapping Sakura to reality. He had beautiful eyes. They showed no emotion and yet they were still so full of mystery and feeling.
"Yes, I'm coming, let me just get my bag…" When Sakura grabbed her bag she realized her fingers were numb and she didn't mind one bit. All that was on her mind was that she was going to be outside with Syaoran Li. Nothing Meiling could do that day could possibly ruin it for her.
It didn't take long to reach the place Syaoran had been describing. Sakura was surprised to find that it was already pretty dark out. It was a quaint small bake shop about two blocks down. The sat across from each other, Sakura felt very stiff and nervous. He seemed more interested at his surroundings then the girl in front of him, which made Sakura realize this was nothing more than an action of pity then really anything else. She was blind to think he had feelings for her.
"So…" He said. She was staring at her hands when he spoke and snapped her head up to look at him. She couldn't find the will power to smile. He wasn't smiling either, but she felt she could at least…express some facial expression to show she was happy.
"Thank you!" Sakura blurted out loud.
He looked taken aback.
"I mean…" Sakura said, suddenly quiet and meek, "for…taking care of me…"
He gave a small shrug and looked around uncomfortably. Sakura wondered if she had said something wrong but her throat had closed off to any more unnecessary commentary.
"So…are you a freshman too?"
Sakura was so surprised that she gaped at him. He had known? He knew she went to Tomoeda? A small flutter of hope shined down on her. So he had probably seen her before, noticed her even.
"Is there something on my face?" He said, and chuckled at his own joke. Sakura willed herself to look away. She loved it when he laughed but she felt as if she was becoming part of society. She was becoming one of his adoring fans.
"Yes, I'm a freshman."
"Alright! And I had thought no one our age hung around downtown anymore, nowadays everyone storms Central. I'm a freshman too by the way."
Sakura forced herself to nod. It seemed downright weird hearing him introduce himself as if he was actually clueless to the fact the entire school knew his name.
"But the air here isn't that great, it's because of the old factory, it's been cleared out but there's still waste and it stinks up the neighborhood."
Sakura knew that of course, everyone knew that, but she nodded anyways and pretended to fake interest.
"What are you doing down here anyways? By yourself I mean."
"Studying," Sakura said, and held up her book for emphasis.
"Can't you do that in the dorms? It's actually much nicer than we take for granted, though sometimes it's like a freaking prison there."
His comment didn't really need an answer, so Sakura simply stared at her hands again. And once again she felt absurdly plain.
"Why are you here by yourself?" Sakura said before she realized it, "Without Keriko that is."
"Keriko? Gods, you know about that too?"
"Don't apologize for it," He sounded angry.
"Sorry." Sakura said before she could stop herself.
He sighed dejectedly as if he had given up on something, "Why does everyone think that I have to go everywhere with her anyways?"
"You don't like her?" Sakura asked on impulse.
"She's just so hard to manage …" He said, "But it's only because everyone makes it harder. With such a small school, nothing ever escapes anyone's radar. I mean…she cares so much about her appearance and she's so paranoid about everything that could ruin her day, did you know she reads her horoscope at least twice a day, its like, give it a break will you?"
Sakura nodded her head again. It felt so personal and strange hearing this coming from Syaoran's mouth that she couldn't find anything to say.
"Do you want to go to the arcade?"
"Arcade?" It was a sudden change of topic.
"Yes, I told a friend of mine I'd meet him there."
Sakura looked at him; suddenly, she wanted him to go away, "Then you should go meet him."
His eyes flickered across her, "But you'd be all by yourself, there's nobody else here to talk to."
Sakura tucked the book in her bag, "I really don't want to bother you and your friend –" What she really wanted was for him to disappear, so she wouldn't have this nervous butterfly in her gut anymore. So she could pretend she had imagined the entire thing. So she could go back to being plain and boring.
"Look Kinomoto, it's alright, okay? Stop acting like you want to be alone all the time."
The last comment stung Sakura in her chest. It was as if he had seen straight through her.
He didn't say another word.
It turned out the boy he was going to meet was none other then the Hirrigizawa boy who owned his own mansion that Sakura knew. Or knew as in, she noticed him. Apparently they were good friends, because the first thing they did was punch each other in the shoulder. Sakura stood timidly by, she felt like such an intruder on Syaoran Li's personal life. It wasn't supposed to be her standing there; it was supposed to be Keriko or even Meiling.
"Hello Kinomoto," Hirrigaizawa Eriol said with a wink, "Funny running in to you here with Syaoran."
Sakura decided she half liked and disliked Eriol from the moment they met. She liked him because he knew her name, and didn't because well…she wasn't exactly sure what his intentions were by mentioning Syaoran's name. And there was also that fact that he was their class president. He must be pretty popular to get so many votes. Sakura felt herself shrinking standing by both Eriol and Syaoran.
"Cut it out Eriol, I met her at the old café, it wasn't anything planned."
Sakura felt unusually insulted. It was as if Syaoran was excusing himself from being seen with someone like her.
"Doesn't matter now, Keriko's going to pissed knowing you're spending a Sunday here with me then with her and the gorgeous beauty of the mall."
"Kinomoto, are you friends with Keriko?"
Half of Sakura wanted to blurt out are you crazy? But it came out more like, "Sure I am, we're best buddies!"
Syaoran froze like a statue. Eriol stared at her. Sakura realized they didn't catch her sarcasm.
"I mean, I send her about ten emails a day about how Pisces is going to ruin our vacation if we don't make sure our make up's perfect at least ten times a day!"
Syaoran clapped the back of Sakura's head with his palm. It was almost a gesture of affection if it didn't actually hurt somewhat, "You stupid idiot, you are just full of it aren't you?" He was smiling.
Sakura rubbed the back of her head and made a mock expression of pain, "You shouldn't hit girls."
"You should make him kiss your boo boo," Eriol remarked and ducked at Syaoran's swing.
"Forget it, you're not worth my time," The two laughed. Sakura felt the corners of her mouth twitch. If Meiling could see her now. She'd probably be shocked speechless.
An hour or two slipped by and Eriol left, saying something about an early start so he could catch Daidouji in the library. Once again, Sakura felt somewhat separated from reality. What was she doing? She should be studying for biology. But she was afraid if she said one wrong thing, Syaoran Li would become just a figment of imagination and she'd wake up from a dream. She shut her eyes. Then she opened them again. Nope, he was still there. So she wasn't dreaming.
Syaoran suddenly started and he flipped his wrist up to his face, "Crap, it's late."
Sakura panicked, "Late? How late?"
"Eleven fifteen," He read and stood up. Sakura followed.
"Eleven fifteen? Oh god, that's passed curfew!"
"Hey! Relax okay!" He grabbed her shoulders and she froze. He was touching her. If they hadn't been under the dim street light, she would've sworn he'd see her turn red, "We won't get in trouble, I do this all the time." His hands slipped from her shoulders and brushed past her elbows almost longingly but she could've imagined it.
Something about the way he so casually remarked that made herself feel completely innocent. As if it was entirely not her fault. She took a deep breath, "We can take the bus."
"Excellent idea!" He said. And Sakura basked in his joking praise. They walked to the station. He strolled in front and Sakura behind him by a step or two. It was as if nothing had changed since the last couple hours. Sakura wondered when they got back to school if he'd ever speak to her again. Unlikely, she thought. This was probably the last time she'd ever speak to him. She felt sick again when they reached the bus. Syaoran walked in first and Sakura realized as soon as she saw the driver that she didn't have any money with her.
"I'm sorry! I can bring you money as soon as – "
"Don't sweat it sug, your boyfriend paid."
It didn't make sense to her, "boyfriend?"
Syaoran had reached for her wrist and gently pulled her down to a seat. The bus wasn't crowded but the strangers that cluttered the aisles had always scared Sakura.
"Hey Kinomoto, you room with um..."
"Meiling," she answered. It felt as if they were exchanging a private conversation.
"Right, my dear cousin, how is she?"
Sakura paled, "Cousin?"
Syaoran looked at her as if she was a joke, "C'mon, you didn't know that? Almost everyone knows that."
Meiling had failed to mention that piece of information to her. Even when she had been describing how close she was to Syaoran, Sakura would never have guessed they were related. It seemed Meiling didn't wish to share it with her. Which was understanding but still shocking.
"No, she never told me."
"Really," Syaoran said with an amused expression now, "It must be quite a problem to room with her; she's been like that forever you know."
"Nope, she's no problem at all," Sakura said with such an honest expression that they both laughed. Sakura felt his hand fall over hers and she let it rest there. It was almost natural if only there wasn't that lingering confusion that Syaoran was someone else's. She could scarcely believe this was happening to her of all people. It was her Syaoran had chosen to be with. Not Meiling, not Keroko, but Sakura.
"You have beautiful eyes," He said suddenly. Sakura held in a small breath. She had heard it before, but it was so different when he had said it, intimate almost. It was a kind of compliment you couldn't give out to everyone. It wasn't like she was wearing perfume and he had complimented on how she smelled nice. She exhaled gently. It was like breathing in a fairy tale. She wished the bus trip would last forever. But it ended sooner than she thought it would.
"Tomoeda!" The driver called. It sounded depressingly like the words "the end" in a book perhaps. Syaoran waited for her to slide out of her seat before following her down the stairs. He seemed oblivious to the thoughts racing across her head.
"Well, my dorms are that way," He said. Sakura already knew that. Meiling had told her where he stayed a billion times. Sakura felt numb as they stood facing each other in front of the looming Tomoeda building. It felt as if she had betrayed herself. She had fallen for him.
"Good night," He said simply, turned, and left.
Sakura waited for him to fade away before heading back towards her dorm. She would have to sneak past her dorm mistress. Meiling was probably furious with her but she was strangely unafraid.
To no one's surprise, Meiling's face was livid when Sakura entered the room.
"Where were you?"
"Out," Sakura answered and buried herself quickly beneath the covers. She was too tired to give in to Meiling's mood.
"Out where?" Meiling hissed, "You were supposed to open the window for me! The senior president saw me in the tree and laughed so hard his face turned purple! I'll be the laughing stock for a week! And you come back and say you were out? What kind of - "
"I was out okay! You're not my mother so leave me alone!" Sakura snapped to her own amazement. Meiling was too shocked to say anything.
After a moment of silence she let out a frustrated sigh and a blunt "Fine!" The sound of rustling sheets signaled she had gone to bed.
Sakura inhaled the scent of her pillow. How badly she wanted to relate her story with someone so it wouldn't fade away in the morning like a dream. It was funny how Meiling didn't even question or hesitate with her excuse. It was most likely because Sakura was the last person on earth to lie about something like spending a day with Tomoeda's sweetheart. It pained her that she had no one to tell. But it was unlikely she'd ever forget.
Sakura smiled, it felt as if she had a secret. A secret all to herself.